Hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, Justice Thakur was sworn in as 43rd Chief Justice of India by President Pranab Mukherjee at an elegant function in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Born in Ramban’s Batroo area on January 4, 1952, Justice Thakur is known for his pragmatic approach besides giving a patient hearing to every case listed before his bench. The 63-year-old senior-most judge of the apex court took over from incumbent Justice H L Dattu. He would have the tenure as CJI for a little over one year and would retire on January 4, 2017.
Son of JK’s former Deputy Chief Minister Devi Das Thakur, Justice Thakur is a well known jurist and judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. He enrolled as a Pleader in October, 1972 and joined the Chamber of his father. He was designated as a senior advocate in 1990. On February 16, 1994, he was appointed as an additional judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and transferred as a judge of the Karnataka High Court in March 1994.
He was appointed as a permanent judge in September 1995 and transferred to the Delhi High Court in July 2004. Justice Thakur was appointed as acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on April 9, 2008 and on August 11, 2008, he took over as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court and assumed charge on November 17, 2009.
A litigator at heart, Justice Thakur managed matters related to a wide range of subjects including civil, criminal, taxation and constitutional cases. He practised largely out of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir. He is credited with cleaning up the cricket administration that was left in shambles after the IPL spot fixing scam. His bench ordered a CBI probe into the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam that brought much embarrassment to the Mamta Banerjee government in West Bengal.
He is also hearing bail applications of the accused in the multi-crore rupee National Rural Health Mission scam, in which former Uttar Pradesh minister Babu Singh Kushwaha is an accused.
Though his predecessor’s Justice Dattu described him a wonderful CJI, but passed him an inherited baggage of 58,000 cases in Supreme Court. Perhaps the big judgement day has finally dawned for him.
– Riyaz Ul Khaliq